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Judge denies request to lower bail for Bird Rock Bandits defendant

Judge denies request to lower bail for Bird Rock Bandits defendant

Superior Court Judge John Einhorn recently denied a request brought on behalf of Seth Cravens, 21, one of five La Jollans charged with multiple felony counts in the beating death of pro surfer Emery Kaunaui Jr., to have his $1.5 million bail reduced.

Cravens is the sole defendant of the five charged in the case who still remains in jail custody. Others accused are: Eric House, 20; Orlando Osuna, 22; Matthew Yanke, 20; and Henri Quinn-William Hendricks, 21.

All five are graduates of La Jolla High School and have been charged with murder in the first homicide in La Jolla since 2002. If convicted of the slaying, the defendants could be sent to prison for 25 years to life. Additional charges filed against the various defendants include alleged street gang activity, making a criminal threat, dissuading a witness from testifying, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and battery, as well as murder. The degree of the murder charge will not be determined until a later court date.

Cravens, who is accused of throwing the punch that killed Kaunaui, no longer is being represented by Pacific Law Center. His new counsel is Deputy Alternate Public Defender Mary Ellen Attridge. Attridge argued that Cravens’ bail was excessively high and should be lowered to a level his family could afford. She argued Cravens’ previous counsel was inadequate and inordinately expensive. Judge Einhorn said Cravens’ problems with previous legal representation was not adequate grounds to reduce his bail further.

Following Kaunaui’s beating and subsequent death from bleeding caused from head trauma in May 2007, police were able to track down his assailants via tips and searches of Internet blogs and MySpace pages. Detectives learned of the five defendants and an alleged street gang they belonged to known as the Bird Rock Bandits.